Free Essay: Ethics and Sustainability of Nuclear Energy

Published: 2023-04-18
Free Essay: Ethics and Sustainability of Nuclear Energy
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Physics Energy Immanuel Kant Ethical dilemma
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1350 words
12 min read

Nuclear energy is one of the most vital alternative source energies that is commonly used in the world today. However, in most instances, when the term "nuclear power" is used or mention, the one thing that pops in the mind of people is bombs, war, and all the negative impacts associated with the word nuclear. However, almost 90 percent of all the nuclear energy used in the world today comes in the form of electricity, which is, however, not harmful. Electricity plays a vital part in our day to day activities (Taebi, 2011). Powering electronics we use, heating the homes we live in as well as keeping the country running requires a large quantity of electricity. Sustainable development, on the other hand, is described as the level of growth that meets the requirements of the existing generation without compromising these capabilities of the generations to follow at the same time. Critical to achieving sustainability is the availability and the use of energy. Conferring to NEA (2000), the way energy is generated and used plays a vital part in the development and sustainability both socially economically as well as environmental wise. To many who have its nuclear energy unlocks access to superior health care, advanced education, prolonged life as well as better economic opportunities and to those that do not. It is the main constraint on their development both socially and economically. Coal, as well as natural gas, account for a large percentage of all the electrical transmission in the year 2012 to 2015 and only a small percentage that came from the natural source(Taebi, 2011). The argument for this essay is to assess nuclear energy critically and argue that the technology is a safer, cleaner and reliable source of power and employ the ethical philosophies of act Utilitarian and Kant while supporting it with credible data.

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To fully understand the current situation surrounding the debate for and against the use of nuclear power, it is imperative to recognize the background of nuclear power generation. It was first discovered by Martin Klaproth inform of Uranium in the year 1789, which paced the way for the creation of nuclear power, and over 15 decades, there was no news regarding the development or creation of nuclear energy until the year 1939. This was when Otto Hahn confirmed that nuclear splitting could be a farfetched source of energy. However, in the year 1941, the first publication from a group of scientists was released which was entitled "Use of Uranium as a Source of Power" and "Use of Uranium for a Bomb" according to which critically shows that the nuclear power had the potential to do good as well as harm (National Geography, 2020). However, during the year, the importance was laid on the second summary due to the second world war. And this led to the formation of the Manhattan project, which was fruitful, and the first nuclear bomb was dropped in Japan.

However, after the world war, the attention was diverted to the first publication, which was the utilization of nuclear energy as a peace tool. Through the utilization of the Manhattan Project, nuclear fission was used to create power, and in the year 1951, the first nuclear reactor was unveiled. Although the power from the nuclear reactor was minimal, it demonstrated that nuclear fission had so much potential. In the year 1953, backed with the program "atom for peace," Eisenhower re-rooted the funding for nuclear weapons to nuclear power, and the start of the 1960s the nuclear technology was complete for commercial use. According to the world nuclear organization, the various nuclear devices designed by Westinghouse were used until the 1990s (Taebi, 2011). And for instance, in the America, the country has enjoyed a relentless of 16 to 19 percent of power created due to nuclear bases since the 1960s (Taebi, 2011). During this period, there has not been the development of additional nuclear plant s in the united states; however, improvement to the existing plants has been made in regard to the structure of the power plants, and no further expansions to the already existing plants have been made. However, in China, there has been a significant expansion in the country's nuclear output and which is expected to increase six times more this year. In addition to china, south kores, India as well as Japan have been significantly expanding on nuclear power generation. However, the question that remains is that can the study and creation of nuclear power source be undertaken during the safety of the current and future generations? If the answer is no, then is it ethically accurate to continue regardless of the amount of energy it breaks to very many communities and towns?

According to Kant's ethical theory, when employing the global law of nature then a comprehensive maximum can be employed "One shall utilize and develop for an energy source if, and only if, it does not harm the people in the surrounding area and it is beneficial to the nation." However, to determine the maximum, then it would be important for an individual to understand the number of individuals or how large of an area a power plant affects. In this regard, the nuclear plant ought to have a significant level of benefits to be termed as ethical, and this can be determined by analyzing the safety as well as the reliability of the nuclear plant. The nuclear power or energy is less harmful as compared to this is because it contains less carbon dioxide emission, and the wastes associated with nuclear power can be deposited in such a manner that it cannot harm anyone. This defends the Kant's maxim hence providing support to sustain the nuclear power research development as well as utilization

Also when employing the Kant's formula of humanity in support for sustainability of nuclear energy, I trust it is equally easy to defend since "The Formula of Humanity states that when deciding on whether or not to commit an action that you shall only commit that action if you use people as an ends and not as means to your end.", (Nelson, 2008) in this case, the result is providing the public with sustainable, clean, and reliable energy. This means that in the end, it is the individuals or the citizens of a state that are benefiting from the energy creation, and they are not in any way being used to achieve the result of operating a nuclear plant.

While using the utilitarian Act theory of ethics, the consequences from the development, use, and sustainability of nuclear energy can be split into two groups of miserons and the other hedons. With hedons for the support of development, use, and suitable for nuclear energy and the miserons against. For the hedons group, the aftermath of nuclear energy use is improved health care for the nation, less emission in carbon dioxide, minimal wastes, creation of jobs for the citizens, and compared to other sources the nuclear energy has causes insignificant harm to the atmosphere (Harsanyi, 1977). On the contrary, the miserons include emission of the carbon dioxide, possible malfunction in the nuclear reactors causing spillage of toxic materials. However, there is minimal possibility of a malfunction in the nuclear reactors, and the amount of carbon dioxide produced by nuclear-powered energy sources is significantly low; hence the ethical theory supports the research, development, and suitability of nuclear energy.

From the augment presented above and the background of the discovery of nuclear power, it is therefore clear that even though nuclear energy has its adverse effects, especially to the environment, the importance of it as a source of energy is significant and should be sustained.


Harsanyi, J. C. (1977). Rule utilitarianism and decision theory. Erkenntnis, 11(1), 25-53. Retrieved from

National Geography, (2020). Renewable energy explained Solar, wind, hydroelectric, biomass, and geothermal power can provide energy without the planet-warming effects of fossil fuels. Retrieved 4 March 2020, from

Nelson, W. (2008). Kant's formula of humanity. Mind, 117(465), 85-106. doi: 10.1093/mind/fzn004

Taebi, B. (2011). Ethics of Nuclear Power: How to Understand Sustainability in the Nuclear Debate. Nuclear Power-Deployment, Operation and Sustainability, 129. doi: 10.5772/17331

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